One yard short of a miracle
HHS falls to Russellville after last minute drive falls short
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
RUSSELLVILLE – One lousy yard.
One more yard and Hartselle would have come away with a huge Class 5A, Region 8 win. But like last year – twice – the Hartselle Tigers fell to Russellville 17-14.
"We grew up a little bit," head coach Bob Godsey said. "We played like a young, inexperienced team in the first half, and in the second half we grew up and played hard and got some things clicking."
The Tigers' comeback bid fell short by one yard.
Hartselle, trailing 17-14 with :32 remaining and no timeouts, began a drive on its own 15-yard line and drove down to the one. On its first play, Hartselle drew a pass interference penalty to get out to the 30-yard line.
Watson then hit Luke Mize for 33 yards to get down to the 37-yard line. After an incomplete pass, quarterback Seth Watson found a double teamed Nikita Stover for 36 yards down to the one-yard line and :01.1 remaining in the contest.
Following two time outs by Russellville, Stover lined up in the shotgun for the final play. He was tripped up five yards in the back field as time ran out.
"It took us about a second to say we gotta go for the win," Godsey said about whether to kick the field goal or go for the touchdown. Unfortunately, we did not end up in the right formation. The play was right, but the formation was wrong."
Hartselle trailed 17-7 when the offense finally awoke.
Sparked by a Stover interception, Watson hit passes of 16, 13, 14 and 17 to reach the two-yard line. However, the Golden Tigers defense held and blocked a Patrick Whatley field goal from 19-yards away.
Still, though, it was the first signs of life from Hartselle's offense since its first possession of the game. Hartselle took a 7-0 lead when Watson, who completed 16 of 21 passes for 249 yards, hit Chris Wiley for a 30-yard touchdown.
Russellville then scored 17-unanswered points, including its last score, a field goal by Denis Ambrosio with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers took control in the fourth quarter with 5:38 on the clock. Watson led the team down field, distributing five passes to four different players, and eventually hit Wiley for his second touchdown of the night. Wiley caught seven passes for 118 yards and two scores.
As a team, though, Hartselle was out-rushed 176-16.
How They Scored
Hartselle 7 0 0 7 – 14
Russellville 0 14 3 0 – 17
Hartselle: Seth Watson 30-yard pass to Chris Wiley (Whatley kick) 7:29.
Russellville: Daniel Fowler 1-yard run (Ambrosio kick) 11:14.
Russellville: Matt Stockton 1-yard pass to Brandon Suggs (Ambrosio kick) :25.
Russellville: Denis Ambrosio 26-yard field goal, 4:37.
Hartselle: Seth Watson 11-yard pass to Chris Wiley (Whatley kick) 4:00.
First Downs 16 19
Rushing Yds. 16 176
C-A-I 16-21-0 12-25-1
Passing Yds. 249 135
Total Yds. 265 298
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties-Yds. 3-20 8-70
Rushing – Hartselle: Isiah Herring 8-12, Justin Youngblood 4-7, Nikita Stover 1-(-3). Russellville: Daniel Fowler 13-65, Maurice McCullough 17-58, Bryant Bonds 7-41, Matt Stockton 6-9, A.J. Rorer 4-3.
Passing – Hartselle: Seth Watson 16-21-0, 249 yards, two touchdowns. Russellville: Matt Stockton 12-19-1, 135 yards, one touchdown; Daniel Fowler 0-5-1, 0 yards; Maurice McCullough 0-1-0, 0 yards.
Receiving – Hartselle: Chris Wiley 7-118, Nikita Stover 5-73, Luke Mize 3-48, Joe Walter Norris 1-9. Russellville: Reggie Hubbard 4-56, Maurice McCullough 4-39, Jeremy Williams 2-29, Jarrell NeSmith 2-11, Brandon Suggs 1-1.